To love a painting is to feel that this presence is… not an object but a voice.

~ Andre Malraux ~

Sinan the Jew and Haireddin Barbarossa


Artist unknown, believed to be Italian 16th Century

I do not know if I would hang a print of this painting in my home, but I must say there is something about the very determined look, on these men’s faces, that draws me to them. Also, I quite like the contrast between the flowing lines of their turbans, the sharpness of the angles that make up their faces, and the intricate print of their clothing. They look so stern and solid, yet I find them to appear rather dependable, completely without reason.

This painting hangs at the Chicago Art Institute, in Chicago, Illinois.

In case you are wondering, as I was.


“Born to a Sephardic Jewish family which fled Spain and possibly relocated to the then Ottoman ruled Smyrna, Sinan sailed as a Barbary corsair, a type of privateer or pirate, under the Ottoman flag. There are several cases of Jews who upon fleeing Iberia turned to attacking the Empire’s shipping, a profitable strategy of revenge for the Inquisition’s religious persecution. He was based out of Mediterranean points including Santorini, and fought in several key battles against the Spanish and the Holy Roman Empire, at the time ruled by the same man, Charles.

Sinan sailed under the famed Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa at the 1538 Battle of Preveza against Charles’ Imperial fleet and its commander, Andrea Doria. Sinan suggested landing troops at Actium on the Gulf of Arta near Preveza, an idea which Barbarossa initially opposed, but which later proved to be important for securing the Ottoman victory.”

Art can never exist without naked beauty displaced.

~ William Blake ~

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